A slew of no-shows inevitably marred this year's Haifa "Neighbours" Film Festival, which was held despite the current Israeli-Arab crisis.

Among the few who dared to make the trip was Irena Strzalkowska, head of Poland's Tor production company, Russian director Vladimir Khotinenko, Georgian directors Dito Tzintzadze and Nana Djordjadze, plus French director Franka Mouloudi, who insisted on presenting her documentary on Egyptian Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahpouz as a personal statement on the situation.

The festival, whose avowed purpose is to improve cultural relations around the Mediterranean basin, still managed to record 30,000 admissions for its 120 titles displayed.

Spain's Benito Zambrano took the main prize (in absentia) for best Mediterranean film. Yellow Asphalt, three stories by Danny Verete dealing with the life and tradition of the Bedouin tribes in the south of Israel, was selected best Israeli feature. Hana Calderon's In The Mind's Eye, which tells the story of three blind women, was the best documentary award.